Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Y-Generation and Female Bullying

By David Simms, Senior Contributor
The Global Institute for Cyber Safety and Standards

Recent reports describe the Y-generation, specifically the 20 or 30 somethings, as being less tolerant of online bullying than other generations. Some say this can be attributed to younger people having grown up with more anti-bullying campaigns in school. Having more information on what constitutes bullying theoretically makes them more vocal against it and less likely to put up with it.  Despite this however, internet harassment, especially in the workplace, does not appear to be slowing down. 

Something of particular interest is the distinction between the harassment perpetrated by men as opposed to women. Woman-on-woman bullying  is actually on the rise, according to Dr. Gary Namie, psychologist and co-founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute, “Bullies are of both genders, but women bullies tend to disrupt relations or pit worker against worker. Men would rather push people around to show hierarchy.”  Regardless, it is becoming clear that the damage inflicted by online bullying can have more traumatic impact than even in-person sexual harassment. This is perhaps because online harassment tends to be much more personalised usually touching on a target’s deepest insecurities which is a common mode of female harassment across the board. 

Statistics also show that over 80 percent of female bullies choose female targets where the bullying typically involves ostracising a victim to spreading rumors or betraying trust. As surprising as it may be to find this kind of activity in the adult workplace, it continues to be a significant problem that only some employers take seriously.  Polls indicate that the vast majority of women experiencing this kind of negativity at work, believe their supervisors and bosses consider it a trivial matter and therefore must endure an abusive environment.